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Thread: Minimum Unit Numbers (Explorers)

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    Minimum Unit Numbers (Explorers)

    I'll dive straight in - does anyone have any experience/evidence/advice on the minimum numbers of YP required to run a unit, specifically an Explorer unit? Of course, if you've only got 2 YP and 2 leaders, it's not going to be much fun, but is there anything that states there should be a minimum number to call it a unit?

    I have searched through the current POR and looked at a few previous years (back as far as 2011) but can't find anything.

    TIA

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    Quote Originally Posted by BoYeomans View Post
    I'll dive straight in - does anyone have any experience/evidence/advice on the minimum numbers of YP required to run a unit, specifically an Explorer unit? Of course, if you've only got 2 YP and 2 leaders, it's not going to be much fun, but is there anything that states there should be a minimum number to call it a unit?

    I have searched through the current POR and looked at a few previous years (back as far as 2011) but can't find anything.

    TIA

    There USED to be a minimum number stated in POR but this appears to have been removed.

    There are however minimum standards that have to be reached and if they are not the DC is obliged to close the section or group.

    I would imagine though the DC would want to discuss the matter with the GSL in the case of a Group and the DESC in the case of an ESU. If the numbers are really small for an ESU it is unlikely that a DESC & DC would authorise the opening of a Unit unless there was real chance of increases in numbers except in exceptional circumstances.

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    As Dave says, there's minimum standards, but no minimum number, as laid down in POR.

    Personally, less than about 5 is pretty thankless. Or rather, less than 10 on the books but with only 3 turning up because of exams/holidays/school prom/college open evening.
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    Thanks for your responses.

    It's a shame I can't find the POR section that used to have it in, at least to prove that it did once exist!

    I saw the minimum standards, but they don't specifically apply to a minimum number of YP, although I see how you could fail to meet standards if you were only having 2-3 regulars and therefore you weren't providing a balanced programme, for example. I have been involved with a group previously who have cancelled the odd weekly meeting during exam season and I'm sure this is common practice all over.

    From a District perspective, I know the DC and DESC would be keen to make sure that a unit was sustainable - a real chance of failure would be a good enough reason to not start a new unit, for sure.

    So, the answer is that there is nothing in POR (not that it is the be all and end all!) although there used to be and it is down to the DC/DESC to establish whether minimum standards are being met to ensure viability.

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    No rule, but I reckon to make it viable you're probably talking a similar number to which I'd consider the minimum I'd typically go ahead with a camp on (excepting specialist things like expeditions) which is somewhere around 6, provided they are all good, consistent attendees and don't miss half the meetings.

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    I don't think you can define a minimum number of members, it's probably better to consider a minimum number who turn up on a regular basis. These may or may not be the same people. I was involved with a unit that theoretically had 11 members, but we'd only ever get 2 or 3 at a meeting, we decided this was not practical so put the unit into abeyance. My current unit has 21 on the books and we generally get 17/18 at a meeting.
    Last edited by Glue; 18-07-2019 at 01:57 PM. Reason: Because I can't spell!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Glue View Post
    I don't think you can define a minimum number of members, it's probably better to consider a minimum number who turn up on a regular basis. These may or may not be the same people. I was involved with a unit that theoretically had 11 members, but we'd only ever get 2 or 3 at a meeting, we decided this was not practical so put the unit into abeyance. My current unit has 21 on the books and we generally get 17/18 at a meeting.
    Yeah, about 5-6 at the meeting every week (and all events) is probably the sensible/practical minimum.

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    wrong thread!
    Last edited by big chris; 18-07-2019 at 02:16 PM.

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    I think the lowest our Unit has ever got on numbers was 4 and that only worked because all 4 were there pretty much every single week. We have more than that on the books currently but the last few weeks whilst exams were on we only had 3 some weeks, we made it work (and we meet on Fridays so really shouldn't be that affected by exams. I do try to make the point to parents that the Explorers need some time to destress and enjoy themselves and do some exercise and that revising on a Friday really isn't actually going to happen)
    Last edited by shiftypete; 18-07-2019 at 06:01 PM.

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    I had an explorer belt trip to France with 3 YP and 8 adults, only one of the YP was not a son of an accompanying adult. I wasn't sure but phoned Gilwell who said it's fine but made some pretty pithy comments about where the unit was applying leader effort.

    I think if I were running a business and I had people who were well under employed where they were, but other teams crying out for people, I'd move them for the greater benefit of the business. Leaders simply won't do that most of the time and one section with more than enough leaders and others on the threat of closure will almost never be recovered by leaders moving unfortunately.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RisingStar View Post
    I had an explorer belt trip to France with 3 YP and 8 adults, only one of the YP was not a son of an accompanying adult. I wasn't sure but phoned Gilwell who said it's fine but made some pretty pithy comments about where the unit was applying leader effort.

    I think if I were running a business and I had people who were well under employed where they were, but other teams crying out for people, I'd move them for the greater benefit of the business. Leaders simply won't do that most of the time and one section with more than enough leaders and others on the threat of closure will almost never be recovered by leaders moving unfortunately.
    We once went to Auchengillan with 3 Scouts and 5 Leaders and it was a good camp and the kids enjoyed it.

    Re your final paragraph though - people are volunteers and work with a section that they are happy with and hopefully best suited with.

    Many would not and indeed could not operate with another section. I have always worked with Scout age and assisted a bit with Explorers. I have helped on Cub and Beaver events and activities but no way would I be able to work with those sections on a week by week basis.

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    Quote Originally Posted by daveb123 View Post
    There USED to be a minimum number stated in POR but this appears to have been removed.

    There are however minimum standards that have to be reached and if they are not the DC is obliged to close the section or group.

    I would imagine though the DC would want to discuss the matter with the GSL in the case of a Group and the DESC in the case of an ESU. If the numbers are really small for an ESU it is unlikely that a DESC & DC would authorise the opening of a Unit unless there was real chance of increases in numbers except in exceptional circumstances.
    Talking of "minimum standards", the rules in POR specify a minimum of 2 adults at all times in the regular meeting place, one of whom must be a warranted leader; the chance for all YPs to have at least one nights away experience per year; I can't remember if there was anything else in there, off the top of my head.

    It doesn't mention minimum numbers of YPs per section at all.

    However be careful about that, 'cos I know from personal experience that your County or District may have their own rules about minimum numbers of YPs. Our DC has made a rule that any section with less than 6 YPs for 2 consecutive years (at census time, specifically) will be summarily shut down. It's her own ruling, but she keeps insisting it comes from SHQ.

    Just how on earth any Group that's had a section closed due to low numbers if ever meant to try to get going again, is anybody's guess...I imagine you'd have to find at least 6 children who all want to join the section at the same time, and how likely is that really?
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    Quote Originally Posted by KoopaCooper View Post
    Just how on earth any Group that's had a section closed due to low numbers if ever meant to try to get going again, is anybody's guess...I imagine you'd have to find at least 6 children who all want to join the section at the same time, and how likely is that really?
    With a 12 month window of flexibility from the previous Section it's not hard to achieve that at all, and it's how most new Sections come about I'd think.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KoopaCooper View Post
    However be careful about that, 'cos I know from personal experience that your County or District may have their own rules about minimum numbers of YPs. Our DC has made a rule that any section with less than 6 YPs for 2 consecutive years (at census time, specifically) will be summarily shut down. It's her own ruling, but she keeps insisting it comes from SHQ.
    Well that's not an invitation to over-report!
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    Quote Originally Posted by KoopaCooper View Post
    Just how on earth any Group that's had a section closed due to low numbers if ever meant to try to get going again, is anybody's guess...I imagine you'd have to find at least 6 children who all want to join the section at the same time, and how likely is that really?
    Well last group we opened kicked off with 20 Beavers and 12 Cubs, so entirely possible....

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